Earlier this week, 28-year-old Canadian musician Justin Bieber announced to the world that he is suffering from a rare syndrome that causes partial paralysis of his face.
“I have this condition called Ramsay Hunt syndrome. As you can see, this eye is not blinking. I can’t smile on this face. This nostril won’t move,” he said in an Instagram video that has garnered more than seven million likes. “I wish this wasn’t the case but my body is clearly telling me I have to slow down.”
In order to “get 100% back,” the two-time Grammy Award winner postponed the next few shows on his tour to recuperate.
“I will get better,” he said. “I have hope.”
Justin Bieber reveals he has facial paralysis due to Ramsay Hunt syndrome
What is Ramsay Hunt Syndrome?
According to Dr Charles Nduka, a consultant plastic, reconstructive and plastic surgery in Brighton, UK, Ramsay Hunt syndrome occurs due to reactivation of viral infection.
“Many people will hear about chickenpox and chickenpox can cause reactivation of the virus in the form of shingles, a type of rash that will form on the body,” he said in an interview with Reuters. “If that rash occurs near the facial nerve, it can cause sudden facial paralysis, often associated with some pain around or behind the ear.”
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According to Dr Nduka, co-founder of health charity Facial Palsy in the UK, people who develop Ramsay Hunt syndrome often have another co-occurring problem that puts their immune systems down.
Patients with this syndrome often notice that their eyes are dry and inability to keep fluids in their mouth.
Dr Nduka said: “The symptoms Mr Bieber described are classic for facial paralysis. “Simply brushing your teeth and trying to get the toothpaste out can be very difficult if one side of your face is paralyzed.”
According to the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), Ramsay Hunt syndrome has an annual incidence of 3.2 to 4.2 cases per 1000 people.
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After watching the musician’s video, Dr Nduka said he saw early signs of recovery in Bieber. To treat this syndrome, patients are usually treated with steroids and antiviral drugs, he said.
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About 75% of patients with the syndrome who are treated early will make a full recovery, he added.
“I see patients who work in the entertainment industry frequently with facial paralysis, and they have very specific problems with their lives,” added Dr. Nduka.
Antiviral drugs such as Valacyclovir (also known as Valtrex), Aciclovir (formerly known as Acyclovir, also known as Zovirax) or Famciclovir (also known as Famvir) are usually prescribed for 7 to 10 days when in doubt. have Ramsay Hunt syndrome. Paralyzed UK.
However, the effectiveness of the treatment is time-sensitive, the CMAJ said.
According to the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), 5 out of every 100,000 people develop Ramsay Hunt syndrome each year in the United States.
Most cases affect older adults, especially those over 60, and are extremely rare in children, NORD said.
Derick Wade, a consultant in neurological rehabilitation and a visiting professor at Oxford Brookes University in the UK, told Sky News that recovery times can vary considerably.
“If a nerve is damaged in this way, it can heal in some people very quickly, in days or weeks, and in others it can take months. So it was a very unpredictable affair,” he said.
– With records from Associated Press & Reuters
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